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Many patients dread going to their physical therapy sessions. Physical therapy is an essential, yet difficult, stage of the recovery process. The retention rate is not great- about 25 percent of patients quit their physical therapy sessions before completing the full program. If only there were something, other than encouraging words and support from family and friends, to keep patients going, maybe more would stick around and see the benefits over the inconveniences. With motion sensing technology, there just may be.

Patients’ reasons for quitting physical therapy vary, but usually it comes down to feelings of frustration over not getting the desired results right away and physical pain from challenging exercises meant to strengthen the body. “The drudgery of persevering without immediate results can be emotionally demanding,” says TNW contributor Terho Lahtinen.

Motion sensing technology can provide data and remote therapy to make treatment both less ambiguous and more convenient for patients. Motion sensors are not a new technology, but they have not, until now, been applied to physical therapy. The portability and accuracy of motion sensing devices makes them a natural fit for physical therapy sessions. Here are some of the ways in which motion sensing technology can improve the physical therapy process for both patients and doctors.

Remote access

Motion sensor devices are small, compact, and portable. One of the most frustrating aspects of physical therapy, for many patients, is the inconvenience of leaving their homes to do exercises at a facility with a physical therapist. The portability of these devices means that patients can use them at home to complete their exercises, making them more motivated to keep going. Patients can also use motion sensing devices to monitor their daily movement and track how certain motions may contribute to pain or injury.

More individualized therapies

The data motion sensing devices provide makes treatments more accurate, and as a result allows physical therapists to better understand patients’ pain and progress, leading to more detailed and thorough recovery plans. Data can also show whether or not a patient is putting the proper amount of effort into their exercises, holding patients accountable while helping PTs adjust when necessary to craft customized treatment plans.

Improved doctor-patient communication

Doctor-patient communication is unfortunately often a barrier to effective treatment. As experienced as a doctor may be, they cannot get into the heads of their patients and know exactly what they are feeling. Patients sometimes struggle to convey their pain and frustrations. The real-time data of motion sensor devices gives doctors and PTs a measurable representation of how their patients are progressing and a better understanding of when and how to move forward in the recovery plan.

Quicker recovery time

All of these factors mentioned above contribute to a shorter recovery time, and if patients can get their desired results in a more condensed timeline that feels like less of an intrusion into their lives, then they’re more likely to finish out their treatment plans.